There’s something that’s been percolating through my grey matter for a few days, and it’s finally reached the surface. A while back I read a blurb about a guy who was looking ever-so-stylish in a custom-tailored four-button coat.
Four buttons! Wow! Can you believe it? That guy has some brass!
One time, many years ago, I went into a suit store (lacking the funds to pay someone thousands of dollars to make a jacket for me with one more button) and asked for the suit that would be the farthest thing from the Standard Male Uniform without offending people who expected to see me in the SMU. (Nobody I knew was in the ‘expecting to see’ category, but there was a funeral or a job interview or a wedding or some tragedy like that that required me to look ‘respectable’.) I ended up with a fairly nice suit in a borderline scandalous dark dark green that utterly failed to bring out my eyes. It looked, to my eye, like just about every other suit I’d ever seen.
If someone from a non-suit-wearing culture were to visit me in a suit-required situation and apologize for mixing up our names by saying ‘you all look the same to me’, I would nod my head in agreement. Women have fashion, men have the SMU. Men are reduced to the necktie to express who they are through clothing. Unfortunately, the necktie has turned into the business equivalent of gang colors. It’s not an expression of individuality; it’s your membership badge for whatever pathetically irrelevant subset of suit wearers you imagine yourself to be. There is the Power Tie (ha!), the School Tie, the Invisible Tie, and (the only one backed by a shred of honesty) the Family tie. I like the Family tie. It changes with the holidays, is sometimes horrible but carried as a badge of honor. “I’m wearing this polyester disaster because it will make my family happy.” There’s a good chance it will deflect bullets as well. The Family tie is cynically wielded by gray-haired salesmen.
Back to the buttons. You read it here first, kids… the TRUE FASHION REBEL will have no buttons at all. Velcro, baby. Imagine the clean lines of your suit jacket that is in every other respect just like what everyone else is wearing. No buttons! The Scandal!
Velcro. It’s the new black.